The dates haven’t been announced yet, but both the BJP and the Congress are gearing for a November battle coinciding with the Bihar election. Of the 28 seats, 25 were with the Congress, before these MLAs defected to the BJP, along with Scindia; three seats were vacated on the demise of the incumbents. The GwaliorChambal region accounts for 16 seats, and the BJP strategy here is to nullify the opposition campaign on the motives behind the defections. There is talk of substantial sums of money changing hands; a figure is also in circulation and the electorate has latched on to it. Net result: the voters are fully expecting to be courted by these leaders. The fact that 14 of the turncoat MLAs were made ministers also establishes a quid pro quo. “The BJP is claiming the MLAs resigned because the 15month Congress government only focused on Chhindwara, exchief minister Kamal Nath’s area, and that other regions of the state were ignored,” says politi cal analyst Girija Shankar. “To drive home the point, Chouhan and Scindia have also announced a huge number of development works in the constituencies going to the polls. The message is that the BJP will rectify the wrongs of the Congress,” he says.
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September 28, 2020